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Ro8 Day 4 Preview
DongRaeGu vs Oz
Unlike other tournaments that seem to be filled with more and more PvZ’s as they progress, this OSL has featured very little PvZ, with only three relatively uneventful Bo1s giving us our fill. As the only Ro8 matchup not featuring a KeSPA competitor, GSL followers will feel a little more at home watching these two excellent players duke it out. While they are great players and both have shown solid gameplay in getting thus far in the OSL, neither is currently at their peak, and advancement in this tournament would go a long way towards proving that the victor means business. Another interesting thing of note is that the winner of this match will face MC while Last duels with Rain on the other side, guaranteeing a final KeSPA vs GSL showdown that will surely interest fans from all walks of StarCraft.
DongRaeGu, is often hailed as the best Zerg in the world but his throne has been awfully shaky as of late, although he has played respectably well this OSL. While an unimpressive defeat at the hands of Rain makes us hesitate to say that he’s really a favorite in what will possibly be three straight ZvP series for DRG, his progress as of late isn’t abysmal, and we’re still hopeful. With his ZvT letting him down as well in the recent GSL Ro16, DRG doesn’t have a matchup to lean on anymore, and he’ll need to completely turn himself around if he hopes to win here. Still, the Ro8 in a major Korean tournament is no small feat, and we can’t ignore the fact that he’s scraped by and gotten the job done thus far, despite not being what we’ve come to expect from DRG. The biggest worry about DRG is not simply that he’s lost, as top players are so close in skill that they frequently trade games – it’s the manner in which he’s lost, how he’s looked utterly unimpressive in defeat and nothing special even in victory. DRG hasn’t won a ZvP series in four months, and even though he hasn’t had a whole lot of them as of late, it’s still not a good place to be for someone who was frequently proclaimed as the gold standard for the matchup.
Oz… what are we to think of you? His PvP woes are well documented, and an 0-2 loss to Trap last night continued his nearly comical fall from grace in the matchup. Aside from his OSL victories which let him sneak through to the Ro16, Oz has been decidedly unimpressive, falling from the GSL entirely. In fact, his slump is so severe that if you ignore his ODT and OSL victories, Oz has lost ten straight games in Korea across Code A, Up/Downs, and GSTL, which is in fact an even worse slide than DongRaeGu. Given that Oz didn’t quite have the prowess of DRG even at his peak, it’s hard to place a lot more confidence in him. Not to discount the significance of such a major tournament, but scraping a few Bo1 wins off of good players isn’t enough to make the assumption that he’s at the level to beat a top Zerg in a Bo5. Oz has a lot to prove, and given that he’s been rather uninspiring for quite a while now, it’s hard to imagine him showing a completely new face here. But if there’s any way to come back with a bang, preying on a few of DRG’s careless mistakes and riding to a strong victory here would be a big statement.
As every OSL game thus far has either been a Bo1 or a mirror matchup, the slightly different map format hasn’t gotten the attention that it perhaps deserves. With only four maps being used with the first and last map being the same, Bo5 series have a unique flavor in the OSL where there is definitely a tad of mindgaming going on throughout the series. Playing that role this time around is Antiga Shipyard, a map that appears to have slightly favored Zerg throughout its long history. While clearly this isn’t a game-decider, it could tilt the scales enough in DRG’s favor that he can afford to drop a game on the Protoss-favored Entombed Valley without too much trouble. Oz will need to constantly mix things up to win a series like this, but I think DRG definitely has the edge overall this time around.
Now, all things considered, DRG has to be the favorite here. On name value alone, DRG beating Oz would be expected, and Oz hasn’t given us any reason to expect something big out of him here. Still, it’s not out of the question, and if DRG doesn’t bring his trademark mechanical excellence that seems to have slipped as of late, we could see him fall further into decline. It’s all speculation, but I’m definitely going to have to call DRG the favorite, even if the series goes to a deciding fifth game.
Prediction: DRG 3 > 1 Oz